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Showing posts from 2018

Revisiting my speech at the inauguration of I Am Queen Mary, March 31, 2018

I recently received an email by a young artist in Sweden who did a project where he used a copy of the speech I gave on a t-shirt project. It was very serendipitous for me as at the time I received the email I was at the Schomburg Center archives in NY researching speeches by Virgin Islanders in the Harlem Renaissance. 

La Vaughn Belle Inauguration Speech I Am Queen Mary, March 31, 2018

My name is La Vaughn Belle and I am a visual artist from the Virgin Islands. I have noticed that in the city of Copenhagen there are many sculptures. There is a sculpture of King Frederik V, King Frederik VI, King Frederik VII, King Christian X, Princess Marie, Andreas Peter Bernstorff, Emil Christinas Hansen, Hans Christian Andersen, Søren Kierkegaard, Peter Griffenfeld, Joan of Arc, Salvador Allende, David, Thor, Diana, Aphrodite, Moses, Neptune, a drunken faun, a neapolitan fisherman, a blind girl, a blind boy. There are sculptures of mermaids, a cyclops, elephants, two lions, polar bears, a…

VI Studies Collective (VISCO) Founding Statement

I recently got back from NYC and among many things had the opportunity to have a 2 day working meeting with these amazing women. It's on!!!!!

VI Studies Collective (VISCO) Founding Statement 2018
St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, the group of islands currently known as the United States Virgin Islands (formerly the Danish West Indies) are crucial spaces for thinking through questions of sovereignty, personhood, and belonging. We are a group of academics, artists, and activists who are committed to centering the Virgin Islands as a site of inquiry and theorization beyond a notion of utopia or space that is not meaningfully occupied. As founders of VI Studies, we situate this field as a multidisciplinary framework through which we—and others—are able to study and understand the Virgin Islands. Our conceptualization of the U.S. Virgin Islands allows for various connectivities with Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands. 
We are committed to centering the Virgin Islands as the int…

Writing Out Of The Margins: Selected Footnotes On Det Sorte Kapitel

In response to the film Det Sorte Kapitel (The Black Chapter) which premiered on September 29, 2018 I have many complex thoughts and feelings, but I will begin by giving some context. During the weeks leading up to the film there was a mounting sense of anxiety and confusion as I began to see the trailer and press package information emerge. I had also received communication that the premiere and panel discussion I was invited to attend as one of the key characters in the documentary would be in Danish, even with the push back of how language has functioned as a way to isolate and narrow the dialogue around colonial history. Instead of on the panel, I was placed in the audience with a translator as I watched a disjointed, pain-filled and confusing discussion about the experiences of people of color in Denmark. I sat there silent trying to understand the translator, trying to process the film I had just watched for the first time, wondering why I hadn’t seen it before and awkwardly co…

Wretched Objects of the Brute Imagination

In June I had the privilege of participating in this exhibition on St. Croix entitled "Animism and the Colonial Imagination" organized artist Janet Cook Rutnik. Here is what David Knight, Jr writes about the my work in the show: 

"Several pieces in the exhibition pose questions about the production of knowledge. La Vaughn Belle’s series of 22 V.I. animal sketches titled ‘the Most Wretched Objects of the Brute Creation’ reads like the scattered pages of an exploded travelogue or notebook of ‘discovery.’ But here we do not see the conquistador’s uncertainly drawn animals, symbols of the one divine reality, but instead something more accommo- dating to multiplicity and a kind of freedom. The ‘local’ V.I. animals, all of them imported by the island’s colonizers to serve a function, refuse to submit to a universalizing or reductive eye. The mongoose bristle with prickly resistance; the cattle turn their backs to the representer, inscrutable and opaque; the donkeys, beasts of …

Artist Talk at Prizm Art Fair: I AM QUEEN MARY with La Vaughn Belle and Jeannette Ehlers

It was exciting to participate in my first art fair in December 2017, Prizm Art Fair, a satellite fair during Miami Art Week/ Art Basel Miami. Me and my collaborator Jeannette Ehlers were honored to present an artist talk about out monumental project, I AM QUEEN MARY. During the fair we exhibited a 50 centimeter prototype of the sculpture and a series of photographs based on the merging process of our two bodies.

Here is the artist talk on youtube. 

Solo Exhibition | Peachcan Gallery | January 12-Feb 28, 2018

Peachcan Gallery January 12- February 28, 2018 Artist Talk, February 1, 2018 Possessions | La Vaughn Belle